From Our Friends at ANSA.it:
Restaurant fined for lobster abuse
Crustaceans kept on ice rather than in water tank (ANSA) - Vicenza, April 26 -
A restaurant operator has been fined 688 euros for allegedly mistreating lobsters which were on display for potential customers, the local press reported.
The fine was the result of a complaint filed in March 2002 by a former activist from Italy's animal protection agency ENPA.
The 34-year restaurant operator was accused of keeping the lobsters on ice rather than in a water tank.
The fine was levied despite the restaurant operator's request for the opinion of an expert and he has appealed.
According to the restaurateur, four years ago there were no specific guidelines on maintaining live lobsters, regulations which entered the law books only in 2004.
The general opinion of lobstermen is that a hard shell lobster can survive out of the water for 24 hours or more, while soft shell lobsters, those which are re-growing their shells after shedding, are best kept in water.
They also maintain that lobsters, sometimes referred to as the 'cockroaches of the sea', do not suffer, for example when they are thrown into boiling water for cooking. Most lobsters in Italy are hard shells and arrive from northern Europe and North America packed in ice.
The local press here noted that the case has given the restaurant operator some excellent, free publicity.